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Re: school's responses to attack


From: Michelle H. Harrell (michelle_h_harrell_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Sep 12 2001 - 18:56:28 PDT

This morning, our crisis team met and then individually came to tell each
teacher to keep the TV off, send students in need to the office, and go on
as normal without bringing yesterday up. I said "hell no" and then went off
to find my principal who is originally from upstate NY and is usually
sensitive to these things. We talked about it and I strongly urged him to
allow us to express this in art because it is the only way some of them can
express themselves right now. Supposedly, our county's official position is
TV's off and life as normal to help provide structure to those whose lives
seem chaotic right now. With hesitation, my principal agreed.

When students walked in, I gave them a piece of 6x9 paper and gave them
directions on the board: "Write, draw, and scribble everything you know and
feel about the past 24 hours." They could use any media and as long as they
would like. Then, they were to get out their projects and continue working.
Most only worked for a few minutes but it started incredible conversations
and allowed some to really confide through their work their personal fears
and thoughts. Oh my god- I learned more about my students in these first few
minutes of class than I have in 2 years teaching them. One of my seniors
has an older sister (my age) that is in secret services with the President
and was in the middle of all the crap at the Pentagon yesterday. Another
had a brother who is in Afganastan and on active duty. They had cousins,
uncles, friends, and old neighbors in or at least witness the tragedy at
WTC. I showed them to our principal because we wanted to matt the drawings
in groups of 10 to hang in the main hall. He was almost shaken at how much
was revealed through their scribbles and doodles. Thank god, I had convinced
him to allow us to do this. Evidently I'm not the only teacher in the
school who politely disobeyed. We're going to display these at school in
the hall for a couple of weeks and then bind them in a book I think. Maybe
we'll scan them too for the web, I don't know.

Whoa.. what a week.
Michelle H. Harrell
Southeast Raleigh High School
Center for Accelerated Studies
Raleigh, North Carolina

Reply-To: "ArtsEdNet Talk" <>
To: "ArtsEdNet Talk" <>
Subject: Re: school's responses to attack
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 17:20:25 EDT

In a message dated 9/12/01 3:50:35 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

<< i am interested to hear how other schools and school districts are
  addressing our national tragedy. >>

Our school had an assembly this morning for elementary students and
Our principal talked breifly about the tragedy and assured the students that
should not hesitate to come to him, the counselor or any teacher if they
needed to
talk about their feelings. and then of course talk to their parents. He
went on to assure them that they were safe in our school - we were taking
precautions to protect them and that they should feel
safe here in our school. We then said the
Pledge of Allegiance" and sang the "Star Spangled Banner". All children
attentive and polite. We were so proud of them taking it so seriously.

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